UNITED NATIONS: Highlighting the world’s monumental challenges of “gender parity and climate change”, Pakistan told the United Nations on Monday that Islamabad’s climate policies recognise women’s disadvantages and how they have to be facilitated in their productive, reproductive and care giving roles.
“Climate change is one of the defining issues of our times,” Nilofar Bakhtiar, the Pakistani delegate to the 66th Session of Commission on Status of Women (CSW), said, adding that the phenomenon affects all states, peoples and communities.
“Our climate policies are paying attention to the plight of women and gender differentials that emerge from climate change and the vastly different experiences men and women have as workers, breadwinners, caregivers, patients and parents through climate-induced stress, she added.
The Commission on the Status of Women is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The priority theme for this year’s deliberations is, “Climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies, and programmes: advancing gender equality through holistic and integrated actions from global to local”.
Bakhtiar, who is the chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), also said that Pakistani women were playing a role in all walks of life.
Pakistan, she said, has a “very strong and glorious” history of women rights’ movement.
Right after seven years of the country’s independence, in which they played a major role, Pakistan had first female Governor, Begum Rana Liaqat Ali Khan; In 1965, Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah contested the presidential elections, and in 1988, Benazir Bhutto became the world’s first female Muslim Prime Minister.
In 2002, the Pakistani delegate added, the government reserved 17% seats in the parliament and 33% at the grass-roots level. Pakistan had its first female State Bank Governor in 2005.
Pakistan Army have had 5 major generals and today, there is also a three-star female general. Also, just recently, the first female judge was elevated to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
“We see women CEOs, footballers, swimmers, climbers, fighter pilots – women are everywhere, and in every walk of life,” Bakhtiar said.
“Our set of pro-women legislation is something we can boast about,” she said, pointing out that implementation is still a challenge.
Elaborating on climate change, Bakhtiar said Pakistan has the lowest carbon emissions, contributing virtually nothing to climate change, yet the country is one of the most severely impacted by climate change, with devastating consequences for economy, lives, and people’s livelihoods.
In this regard, she said, “Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme is a testimony to the fact that the will of the government (to fight climate change) is not lacking.”
Bakhtiar added that The National Commission on the Status of Women spent the last four months in consultations with women from various segments of society in Pakistan’s four provinces plus Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir and formulated a comprehensive country report on ‘Gender Parity: Women as Agents of Change.’
“Our progress can be attested by the fact that we have achieved Sustainable Developments Goal 13 a decade earlier than its timeline”, the Pakistani delegate concluded.